One of the most refreshing of salads, beautiful in its simplicity and shades of green, fresh uncooked asparagus with Parmigiano Reggiano, a little olive oil and a tad of sherry vinegar or lemon juice if desired.
6 to 10 asparagus stalks, preferably thin
1/4 to 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1/4 to 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 to 2 teaspoons of sherry vinegar or lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut off any rough ends of the asparagus stalks. Peel asparagus, starting at the bottom of the flower. If the stalk is slender and young, save the peel. If tough, use for another purpose. Continue peeling around the stalk, essentially making ribbons of asparagus. Gather them and any delicate outer peels into a small mound, toss with Parmiagiano and olive oil. Add sherry vinegar or lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper.
Add small peeled cooked shrimp.
Use one of the flavored olive oils, such as lemon or blood orange.
Substitute cheese, using pieces of mozzarella or feta.
Nathalie Dupree is the author of 14 cookbooks, including the James Beard award-winning “Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking.” She lives in Charleston and may be reached through Nathaliedupree.com.